This is Part 2 of my Royal Caribbean Cruise review. If you’ve missed my earlier post, you can read about it here: Royal Caribbean Cruise to Nowhere (Part 1 of 2). As mentioned before, this second part of my review will be all about food so let’s dig in!?
For most cruise goers, the greatest appeal of a cruise holiday is probably the all-you-can-eat dining concept that comes with it. An all-inclusive cruise holiday ensures all your meals are well taken care of. So it’s really impossible that anyone will feel hungry when there is never a lack of food options.
Feast To Your Heart’s Content
There are two dining options onboard the Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas: Complimentary and Specialty i.e. Free vs Fee.
Complimentary Dining (Free)
Below is a list of complimentary food options that were included in our cruise fare.
1) Windjammer Marketplace
This buffet restaurant on Deck 14 serves up international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast: 7.00am – 10.30am
Lunch: 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Dinner: 5.30pm – 8.00pm
When I first stepped into this buffet area, I felt rather uncomfortable because the atmosphere/air smelled weird. It was like being in an enclosed, stuffy space with lots of contrasting food smells – really killed my appetite even though I was feeling hungry just before boarding the ship. Very poor ventilation.
The buffet line didn’t look aesthetically pleasing too in terms of presentation and display.
I had a hard time picking out food that I wanted as nothing really appealed to me. I thought the kids’ section looked the most appetising with the array of burger patties, sausages and pizzas, lol.
Tried some of the Chinese and Asian dishes but they were badly executed. The sweet and sour pork and kung pao chicken tasted so wrong! OMG.
In the end, I gave up. Didn’t feel like trying more, otherwise I would end up wasting food. Had a bowl of chips with guacamole from the Mexican section and fruits which were the safest.
Breakfast was very mediocre too. Stuck to the standard breakfast items like eggs, baked beans, smoked salmon, bacon and hash browns. The rest – not worth the calories, really.
2) Main Dining Rooms
The main dining rooms consist of four sit-down restaurants on Deck 3 and 4: Chic, The Grande Restaurant, American Icon Grill and Silk. It doesn’t matter which restaurant you go to for dinner because all four of them will serve the same menu on the same night. Only difference is that the interior of the restaurants do not look the same. Therefore you can choose a different ambience at every meal.
Also, the dishes on the menu will rotate every night so you won’t have to repeat a course throughout your cruise. And if there’s any dish you like and would like to order a second helping, feel free to do so as it’s unlimited. See sample menu.
Reservations are recommended if you have a specific restaurant in mind. We did a walk-in and was assigned a table at Chic. They gave us a table by the window which was nice as we had a lovely view of the sea.
Was extremely disappointed when they served us cold bread with butter. I was so looking forward to having some warm, fresh bread but all they gave was chewy, stale ones.
The escargots in garlic butter was decent, not mind-blowing. The crab asparagus soup tasted like a super starchy egg drop soup.
Seafood puff pastry – so so. Ahi tuna – not my cup of tea. Pork chop – thick but bland and the sweet potatoes were uncooked. Both my hubby and I kept rolling our eyes as we tried every dish that came.
Finally, when my ‘favourite dessert’ creme brulee came, we were dealt with another wave of disappointment. The creme brulee was an overdone egg custard that our spoon couldn’t quite cut into. Hilarious!
It didn’t help when we also received substandard service from inexperienced staff.
That was the first and last time we came by the main dining room for a meal. We left very quickly and headed to Chops Grille for a second round of dinner as we were just not satisfied with what we had at Windjammer.
By the way, you can also have breakfast and lunch at the main dining rooms if you prefer table service to self-service buffets.
Breakfast: 8.00am – 10.00am
Lunch: 12.00pm – 1.30pm
Dinner: 5.30pm – 8.30pm
3) Cafe Promenade
This cafe is open 24 hours so you’ll never go hungry even in the middle of the night.
The cafe had a small selection of light bites like sandwiches, mini burgers, wraps, sliced cakes and cookies. Black coffee and tea (hot water with tea bags) were available too. Not sure if it was because I was hungry when I took these snacks but I thought they tasted good. The bready stuffs had good portion of fillings in them and were nicely seasoned. Their cakes and cookies were not bad too though they could be a little too much on the sweeter side.
4) Sorrento’s Pizza
Opening hours: 11.30am – 2.00am
Sorrento’s Pizza is connected to Cafe Promenade in the same place where they share the same seating area. At Sorrento’s, you can enjoy pizza slices of different flavours and a small selection of appetisers and/or cold cuts.
5) SeaPlex Doghouse
Opening hours: 11.30am – 6.00pm
We asked for one of every sausage type available without the buns. Had to skip the carbs as we weren’t exactly hungry, just greedy and curious to try the taste. Came with some relishes and your preferred choice of sauce – we picked mayo.
Honestly, the food quality of the complimentary dining options was really mediocre. I couldn’t even recall there was anything that tasted memorable. So thank goodness we took the Unlimited Dining Package for specialty dining!
Specialty Dining (Fee)
1) Specialty Restaurants | Unlimited Dining Package
There are four specialty restaurants onboard Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas: Chops Grille, Jamie’s Italian, Izumi and Wonderland, which are all located on Deck 5.
Prior to our cruise, we bought the Unlimited Dining Package at S$236.64 for 2 persons which entitled us to dine at all the four specialty restaurants – unlimited times. This was definitely the best purchase we made because the food quality and standard at the specialty restaurants was way better than what was offered in the complimentary dining.
We didn’t go to Izumi as their menu didn’t quite appeal to us. See Izumi’s sample menu. The sushi rolls come in large portions of 8 pieces each and it would just be a waste of tummy space if we were to chow down on ramen or rice bowls.
As for Chops Grille, Jamie’s Italian and Wonderland, we thoroughly enjoyed our meals there. In fact, a number of spectacular dishes really blew us away. Will post separate reviews on the three restaurants right after this post.
2) La Patisserie
We came in here as we wanted to grab some artisan coffee but we left feeling disappointed.
Ordered Mocha (USD4.75 for grande), Chocolate Chai Latte (USD5.25 for grande) and Dulce De Leche Napoleon (USD2.75). The drinks lacked body and robustness. The pastry was old and stale – like a leftover from a few days ago.
Not worth spending extra bucks here.
3) Splashaway Cafe
Opening hours: 3.00pm – 9.30pm
Stumbled upon this cafe on Deck 14 so merely popped in to have a look. They offered complimentary small bites like chicken tenders, mini hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies. There were also specialty items like beef or chicken satay ($2), seafood fried noodles ($6), wonton noodle soup ($6), etc. All prices are in USD.
4) Bars & Lounges
They’ve got no lack of bars & lounges on board the ship: Bionic Bar, Harp & Horn, Vintages, Schooner Bar, Pool Bar, Sunshine Bar, Sky Bar, Windjammer Bar and North Star Bar. All of them are located on Deck 4, 5, 14 and 15. For the opening hours, you can refer to the Cruise Compass (their daily newsletter) when onboard as they are subject to changes due to COVID restrictions.
5) Room Service (additional charges)
Room service was only complimentary for breakfast from 6.00am to 11.00am. Hence if you were to order room service at other times, be prepared to pay additional convenience fee of USD7.95 + 18% gratuities. You can order as much as you want off the menu though as they don’t charge for the food.
For those of you who can’t live without alcohol or sodas, there are also beverage packages you can purchase so you can enjoy unlimited flow of drinks.
Billing / Disembarkation
We received a billing statement via email on the day of disembarkation. The additional charges that were incurred while we were onboard were reflected on that statement and were also deducted from our credit card accordingly. Therefore, there wasn’t a need to check-out or to settle bill personally which would be too much of a hassle.
Passengers disembarked in batches. The whole process was really quick and hassle-free. Just had to refer to the TV in our cabin to find out the time and gangway location and off we went.
All in all, we had a pretty relaxing time on the cruise. In fact, a very lazy one, haha. Chillax. Eat and eat. Just didn’t feel like doing much. Like what I have mentioned in Part 1 of my review post, I really think Princess Cruises wins hands down. Their quality of food, entertainment value of the production shows & singers/performers and level of service were a notch better than Royal Caribbean.
I didn’t regret going on the cruise but I didn’t feel sad when I disembarked either. Every new experience is still a wonderful experience!
Anyway, another item off my bucket list. And I got to taste two of the best lamb chops ever i.e. the only things I miss from this cruise. Lol!
Will I cruise again with Royal Caribbean?
I wouldn’t mind checking out Spectrum of the Seas next. But if I were to take a Royal Caribbean cruise again, it would be mainly for the food at the specialty restaurants, haha. If you’re a foodie like me, please make sure you take the Unlimited Dining Package. Totally worth it to pay more for better food, in case nothing else onboard interests you!
Stay tuned for my reviews on the specialty restaurants!?